Tennessee’s “Don’t Say Gay” Bill Dies

Jim Burroway

May 1st, 2012

Rep. Joey Hensley (R-Hohenwald) has pulled the proposed “Don’t Say Gay” education bill from consideration before the Tennessee General Assembly. But while the bill dies with the end of the legislative session, it’s effects will continue on. Hensley has told reporters that he received assurances that the Department of Education and the State Board of Education will send a letter to all Tennessee school districts “telling them they cannot teach this subject in grades kindergarten through eight.”

Lindoro Almaviva

May 1st, 2012

and wasn’t something like this that started the whole mess in Iowa? People do not learn

David Waite

May 1st, 2012

Jim, the bill didn’t “die” because enactment was never intended. The whole thing was a “tail gunner joe” trick by Hensley to further his political ambitions, and by repeating his fabrications about conversations with and assurances from state “officials” you and Tom Humphrey have aided his cause, in your case quite unwittingly, I feel sure.

Tennessee Department of Education and Tennessee Board of Education members would be in violation of both state and federal law, had they given such assurances. If they could issue such a directive without an enabling law to do so, Hensley’s bill with its predictable adverse global publicity would have been unnecessary. If Hensley really wanted to get this law on the books he wouldn’t withdraw it.

Journalism standards require that reporters ask some member of an allegedly quoted official government body whether the conversations ever took place, and what was said. While I grant that standards have changed since I attended journalism classes or worked in the profession, Tom Humphrey is old enough to remember those rules. Perhaps he has just grown tired and careless; at 70, I can relate to that.

You, Jim, founded BTB to fight against this very sort of thing and have done a superb job at your mission. This site should win all sorts of awards for the Uganda series, to name just one of your significant accomplishments. Please at least call up the state agencies in question and report on their response to you before you simply repeat a statement from Hensley as if it were established fact.

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